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False Rape or Sexual Assault Claims: False Allegation is a Felony Charge

Last week in a North Texas courtroom up in Sherman, Texas, 19-year-old Breana Rachelle Harmon stood up before the 59th Judicial District court bench and pled guilty to filing a false rape claim back in March 2017.

North Texas Teen Pleads Guilty to False Rape Accusation: Harmon Plea Deal

Harmon was indicted on (1) two counts of tampering with physical evidence and (2) one count of tampering with a government record. These three felonies are all 3rd degree felonies under the Texas Penal Code. She was also indicted on a state-jail felony count alleging tampering with a government record and a Class B misdemeanor charge.

She’s taking a plea as a result of plea negotiations with the Grayson County prosecutor.  Sentencing is set for March 20, 2018.  The reports are that she won’t see jail time:  either she will be out on regular probation or she’ll get deferred adjudication according to the plead deal.

For details, read the article written by Drew Smith and published on February 23, 2018 in the Herald-Democrat entitled “Breana Harmon pleads guilty.

 

Texas False Rape Claim Case: Brenna Harmon Gets National Attention

Maybe it was the fact that the young woman ran into a Texas church partially nude and bloodied, crying for help and claiming she had been raped by three African-American men wearing ski masks.

Perhaps it was the speed with which her story blew up, as police investigators discovered the cuts on her leg didn’t jive with the cuts in her jeans and that there was no evidence of rape when she was examined at the hospital.

Or maybe it was the fact that three black men had been accused by a young blond woman of rape and it became really clear, really fast that she was lying.

Whatever the reasons, this story has been covered at the national level everywhere from the New York Daily News to Fox News to the Washington Post to Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s blog.

Probation is the Plea Deal but the Key is the Judge’s Sentence

Some may be shocked that the District Attorney’s Office is agreeing to the teenager not facing jail time (as long as she abides by the terms of her probation).  This is the crux of her agreement to enter a guilty plea now.  The reasons the prosecutor agreed to no immediate incarceration is not being shared at this time.

Of course, the plea deal is subject to the judge’s approval at the sentencing hearing.  And we know that judges usually agree with the prosecution’s stance on the plea deal – but sometimes the bench surprises everyone and nixes going along with the plea agreement.  There’s nothing in the Texas Penal Code forcing the judge to go along with the District Attorney’s agreement with the defense.

Sex crime cases with heavy national media scrutiny are vulnerable to this sort of thing, no matter how it endangers the plea bargaining process.  See, Child Pornography Arrests: Lessons From The Ex-Subway Pitchman’s Sentencing.

Texas Will File Felony Charges on False Allegations of Rape or Sexual Assault

There’s less chatter among the media coverage of this case regarding the reality that this woman was arrested and indicted for filing a false rape claim.  She’s been charged with several felonies for lying to the police and falsely accusing someone of rape.

Texas needs to know that felony false allegation charges are a real possibility for anyone who comes forward and claims to have been the victim of sexual assault or rape.  If the evidence reveals they’ve lied about being a victim, then they may well find themselves in the role of the accused in a Texas criminal courtroom.

False Allegations of Sex Crimes

False allegations of being victimized sexually can involve rape claims, sexual assault claims, or even claims of child sexual abuse.  Romance going bad can result in emotional falsehoods against the ex; and bitter divorce proceedings can include false claims of child abuse during contests over child custody or child support.

As we have discussed in the past, when anyone is accused of a criminal act, particularly a sex crime, there is immediate damage done to that individual.  His reputation is harmed, even if the charges are later dismissed and he is shown to be innocent of everything.

Careers are damaged, jobs are lost, and the scandal can destroy relationships and ruin someone’s life. Someone who is innocent can be severely and permanently harmed by false allegations of rape or sexual assault.  See: Rape or Sexual Assault: Accusations or Gossip vs. Innocence and Texas Criminal Defense These Days.

Accordingly, here in Texas police and prosecutors will proceed to file charges and indict someone who has falsely claimed to be the victim of a sex crime.  This has not been the case in other jurisdictions.  See, for example, the discussion about the UVA case as well as the allegations against the Duke University Lacrosse team in Unjustly Accused of Sexual Assault: When Rape Allegations Aren’t True There’s Still a Victim.

These are felony charges and those accused of filing a false rape allegation will need a vigorous criminal defense (as the Harmon case demonstrates).

Defending Against False Allegations of Rape or Sexual Assault

For anyone facing criminal investigation of possible rape or sexual assault charges, it is vital that they aggressively defend against these allegations as soon as possible.  Protecting yourself and your family and loved ones against the ramifications of being accused of rape or sexual assault needs to be thorough, intensive, and immediate.

For more on defending against someone’s false  claim of rape or sexual assault, read our discussion in:

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Sex Crime Allegations of Rape or Sexual Assault

Sex crime defense lawyers represent both those who have been accused of the rape or sexual assault of another as well as those who are charged with falsely filing rape claims with the authorities.

Both situations involve possible felony convictions with serious prison time.  Both situations are fraught with emotional ramifications that can impact the accused’s life as well as those of family and loved ones far into the future.

An attorney with years of experience dealing with prosecutorial indictments involving sex crimes as they are defined in the Texas Penal Code  understands these scenarios and how best to work with law enforcement to resolve the matter in the best interests of the client.

The key in both circumstances is to begin your defense case as soon as possible.

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For more information, check out our web resources, read Michael Lowe’s Case Results, and read his in-depth article,”TOP 10 MISTAKES IN SEXUAL ASSAULT AND INDECENCY WITH A CHILD CASES.”

 


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